Fairfield v Westchester

A question that would have no home on CH: Which has the livelier culinary scene, Westchester or Fairfield county?

Westchester boasts stars as Dan Barber, Peter Kelly, Andy Nusser et al. ( I discount Jean-Georges since Inn at Pound Ridge is an outpost of his NYC empire). Fairfield enjoys the fare of Bill Taibe, Matt Storch, Brian Lewis (via Westchester) and others. Having lived in both Fairfield and Westchester Counties, I’m of two minds. The Westchester lineup feels a bit older and more classical , Fairfield younger more adventuresome.

Admittedly subjective and impressionistic and ultimately irrelevant, but thoughts?

I like the way you broke it down, Louuuuu. But if you add the ‘ethnics’ in such towns as Port Chester and New Rochelle, I believe Westchester has it there…

I think there are the cores and the sides. In the “major” cities there are the chefs you mention and then there are the up and comers. Probably a push in W vs.F with the Barbers, Kellys, Nusser and the Taibes, Storch and Lewis, I would add a few others in both camps.

The ethnics are getting closer in recent years. The number of places in Westchester are still significantly higher, but FFD is now producing some amazing ethnic food. Unfortunately,there is still a number of cuisines in FFD that are both dear to me and non-existent, i.e. bagels,lox, deli, hot dogs, that thrive in Westchester.

Well, I would have to disagree about bagels in Westchester. I really don’t find any that compare to NYC. Of course, ask the question, “who makes the best bagel” and you’ll get a ton of different responses based on personal bagel style preference. So if CT is worse, that’s bad!

I would so much prefer to find more down to earth places - well Tarry Lodge is not a crazy pricey one but Blue Hill - oy. I love finding places like Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield.

I hardly ever dine out in Fairfield County so I can’t make the kind of judgments about the scene there that I can about Westchester. That said, I know that W has way better pizza and that’s enough for me!
Seriously, though, I am a former Manhattan resident and am pretty satisfied with the bagels available at Park Pl. in Bronxville and the several other locations around lower W where their bagels are sold. Nobody has lox like Zabaars so let’s not even go there, but the Nova at Fairway in Pelham is enjoyable.
As far as down-to-earth, local-friendly restaurants go, I am a fan of several of the places you’ll find in the river towns on the west side of the county: Cookery and Parlour in Dobb’s Ferry, Red Hat in Irvington, Twisted Oak in Tarrytown. We’ve also got a bunch of very popular breweries sprinkled across the borough now, which has been quite a welcome trend over the past few years.


Do you REALLY want to have the pizza argument? :smile:

Friends of mine and I are going to a place, Roma’s, in Tuckahoe soon.I am told it has great pizza. Any suggestions would be appreciated. BTW, if you have not gone to Fortina in Rye or Armonk you must skedattle over and try it.

GR – Stamford actually has an active Ethnic scene as well. Indian (Coramadel, Tawa, Navaranta) South American (Brasitas), , Greek (Eos), Moroccan (Fez) Mexican (Casa Villa, El Charito Food Truck, Lola’s) Peruvian (Fiesta, Mi Ranchita), etc. I don’t include high end Spanish and Mexican like BarTaco, Paloma, and Barcelona, because a bit too unauthentic.

JF – Who are some of the up and comer young chefs you would curate in FFC?

Well, that is the difference. I’m in upper Westchester, a vast wasteland for good bagels. Though we have a great place for smoked salmon. [quote=“jfood, post:6, topic:2174”]

BTW, if you have not gone to Fortina in Rye or Armonk
and I so agree with JFood on that one!

It’s on my list!

I haven’t eaten pizza at Roma’s in more than 20 years. Not by deliberate choice, I just grew up thinking of it as a family place where I went with my parents, and haven’t been since. I hear it’s still a good choice for no-frills thin crust, but stay away from the pasta.

I wish I could tell you there was a nice place for coffee and dessert nearby but there isn’t- at least, not one that stays open past dinner.

Please come back and let us know about Roma’s- I wouldn’t mind a stroll down memory lane if it still tastes like the crispy NY-style pizza I remember.

Sadly the pizza at Roma in Tuckahoe is not what it once was…
Regarding dessert…sometimes Polpettina has some interesting
and very good house made desserts…in addition to several flavors
of il laboratorio gelato. As a matter of fact I would have the pizza there
too. Lastly I prefer New Haven pizza :wink:

I guess we need to add to the Taibe, Lewis and Stocrch comment.

Well I just returned from an extravaganza at Fortina in Stamford, so that staff goes on the list. Stamford contributes Steve Lewandowski at Harlan Social and Publick and his two Exeutive Chefs, Micael Sobelman at Social and Kamal Rose at Publick. My home town of New Canaan has three entrants into rising chefs, Nick Martschenko at South End and Uncorked, Luke Venner at elm, and Mogan Anthony at Locali. Norwalk adds Michael White from Valencia and Pat Pascarella from Bar Sugo. Tim LeBant at Schoolhouse and the Chefs at Walrus and Carpenter in Bridgeport are also in the conversation. In Ridgefield, Forrest Pasternack at Bailey’s Backyard.

Kinda of a long list but I would not turn down a meal by any of them.

If the question had been, “where to go for thin crust pizza?”, I would have suggested either Johnny’s or Polpettina. But it looks like the place has already been decided.
With regard to your New Haven pizza preference, have you been to Frank Pepe in Yonkers? I would say it does a very close impression of the original.

The last couple of times I went to Pepe’s I found their sauce lacking. Lacking - almost tasteless. Haven’t been back.

Mogan is exec chef at Village Social as well.[quote=“jfood, post:12, topic:2174”]
Tim LeBant at Schoolhouse
I have heard Schoolhouse mentioned before on that other site. Worth a trip from Goldens Bridge?

Fortina has the most amazing staff. Customer service and satisfaction are key to them. I have a long list of the amazing things they have done for us. The first time we were there we had a less than stellar server. She could not get anything right, but the kicker was she insisted that the chef told the staff that the Florentine Steak HAD to be served well done. At that point my husband asked for a manager who corrected her. He had his steak, I had my pizza, and we were good The next time we went, after we ordered, Coby brought over a Florentine steak all cut up for us as an appetizer. And it goes on from there.

I scratch my head with the aura of Pepe’s. The NH location is excellent, but the Fairfieldlocation is a far cry from the original. If I drive to NH I go to Sally’s.

Maybe I can convince them to go to Johnnie’s. It is another name they mention.

We had a gathering last night at Fortina. Go to my FB page and look at the video of Chritian making us one of the most amazing table-side dish.

Yup. Mogan at VS as well and if you can attend one of his pop-up Ramen events absolutely go.

Schoolhouse is VERY laid back, is a special event dinner. Very small. Is it worth it from Goldens Bridge? Yes. Maybe 25-30 minute drive.It is about 10 farther than me going to Village Social.

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I don’t think the pizza at the Yonkers location is as good as the New Haven location. I usually stick to the white clam pizza but have sampled others. The swear they use only fresh clams… but I know for a fact they don’t because they serve clam pizza when not in season unlike New Haven, also one of the employees admitted it. I think the pizza will improve as the ovens season… The fist time I tried Pepe’s pizza it was at the New Haven location and it was life changing…I just didn’t experience that in Yonkers. Have you or anyone else had the pizza at Riverhouse, formerly JT Straws. I thought the pizza at JT Straws was wonderful…I’ve attached photos,two out of the few that survived mysterious deletion.

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